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The train moved towards the convention center in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016 as we sat with our matching orange shirts, posters, and megaphones in hand. Aware of our surroundings, we spoke in Spanish and had people translate quietly to the members who didn’t understand. The siren sound accidentally went off on one of our organizer’s megaphones and she hurried to shut it off. But it was too late—An older woman quickly turned to scold her.
“That was incredibly rude,” the older woman bemoaned.
“I’m sorry. It was an accident,” the organizer said.
“Well don’t do it again,” the woman commanded.
This woman’s face was filled with so much unwarranted hatred at something so trivial. I searched for some explanation for her behavior and found it in the T-shirt she was wearing as well as the straw hat of the man she sat next to: “TRUMP 2016.” It made sense then. Her vision was flawed. While I saw a group of young, strong, fearless activists, she saw a group of people who were beneath her who didn’t deserve her respect. I looked down at the poster I held between my knees: “United Against Hate.”
Two men in their twenties saw our posters as well and approached our group. They carried cameras. When they asked to interview us, we looked at each other to try and come to a consensus on what our next move would be. We asked them why they wanted to interview us, and they explained that they were filming a documentary to give Europeans a better look into our American presidential election. They introduced themselves and gave their nationalities.
The older woman’s face lit up at the news that one of them was Italian. She got his attention by speaking to him in his native language like they were old friends. This was a completely different person from the one we had been exposed to five minutes prior. The reporter decided to talk to this woman, and the man who I assumed was her husband. The other reporter stayed and talked to our group.
As we spoke to him, I couldn’t help but listen to the conversation going on behind me. The woman went on and on talking about Trump as if he was her Messiah. She spoke as if her own ancestors would not have been the ones being persecuted in this very train just a few generations ago the same way her idol was persecuting my people. She didn’t understand the marginalization that millions of people continue to feel today, but she did understand that not everybody shared her opinion on the presidential candidate.
“I know some people don’t like him. I didn’t like Bush or Obama, but I still had to live through their presidencies. They just need to get over it,” she said.
I looked down at my forearm as she delivered this shameless rhetoric. Numbers ran across my skin in black sharpie: emergency contacts we had written down, in case something happened to us as we exercised our freedom to protest the presumptive nominee.
I was reminded of why I was there that day. I was reminded of the hours we had spent preparing to make sure that we were safe while protesting. I was reminded of Ohio’s open carry law and Trump supporters’ prevailing infatuation with guns. I was reminded of the people who had been harassed and looked down on by Trump supporters. I was reminded of the lies the presidential candidate had spread about my undocumented community.
That was the thing this woman did not understand. We might just not be able to live through such a presidency.
“Get over it.”
Her words echoed through my mind on November 9, 2016. They repeated over and over again like a broken record as I spent three hours crying uncontrollably in my bed. They repeated as I thought what my future would mean under a president who wanted to take away my DACA and deport me. They repeated as I thought of what would happen to my family, my friends, and my community.
“Get over it.”
This sentiment continues to flood my newsfeed as I read comments left by Trump supporters complaining about the way Democrats were handling this loss like children. It continues as people like Mitch McConnell tell us to “grow up,” claiming that Democrats are only upset because their party lost. They claim we are just sore losers. This sentiment continues to play out as the government prepares for this presidency — one that could mean the end to life as we know it in America. What they don’t seem to understand is that it’s not about being upset for losing an election. It’s about losing our safety and peace of mind. It’s about our lives and our futures.
“Get over it.”
I refuse to listen. I am trying to get through this. We can’t just pretend that millions of people’s lives aren’t at risk. We can’t just sit by idly and watch the country that people have worked so hard to build up burn to the ground. I will protest and I will demand justice. You can choose to join me in the fight or not. But don’t you dare tell me to get over it.
Laura Veira-Ramirez ’20, a Crimson Editorial writer, lives in Canaday Hall.
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